Friday, September 10, 2010

Secrets revealed.

Remember when I told you about my hoarding ways and stockpiling food for the winter? Well, I don't have anything on my cousin's maternal grandmother, Bernice, whom I have the pleasure of adopting as another grandmother for my family. She is truly incredible. I wish I knew more of her story so that I could properly portray her here. The best that I can do is show you her secret root cellar which is in an undisclosed location on her property. I haven't exactly asked permission to put this information on the Internet, but I did ask for the opportunity to photograph it and that was O.K. So, if you happen to guess where Bernice's root cellar is, don't tell her you got it from me ;)
Are you ready for this? O.K. here it is... Creeeaaak. It kind of reminds one of a dungeon and it is a little spooky to walk inside. It was built by Bernice's late husband, Jack. If you look very closely, you can see my aunt Rosealee in the shadows of the doorway. The bunker, (OK , not really a bunker but close) is actually built into the earth on the side of a hill and reinforced with wood framing on the inside. It is where they store all of their preserves and stockpile their food for winter. They probably have a few years worth in there and some items have been stored there for longer than anyone can remember. Some of the jars looked like a creepy science experiment the last time I was in there, but I think recently there has been some inventory done. I'm sure if you ask Bernice how many jars of jam she has left from last year, or even years past, she will be able to tell you without rising from her comfortable position in her favourite recliner.
Ready for the inside tour?

O.K. That is all I can show you. I have told you too much already. The punishment for revealing a hoarders' secrets is no more preserves and I would hate for that to happen.
Please, don't tell Bernice!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Bountiful Beauty

Having just returned from the loving arms of my family, I have a single day to get ready for school and say a final adieu to the summer for the year. How do I spend my final day? Squeezing in one last relaxing day, drinking coffee and blogging, of course. We had an amazing time, as usual, and ate fantastic food. The theme of the party is the smoked salmon that my uncle prepares for the year and that is the reason we have entitled our celebration "Smokefest." Here, my cousin is laying the salmon onto the racks to go into the smoker. They have been marinating in the brine over night. These tomatoes were quite delicious as well, made with balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese and melted with ooey gooey brie cheese on top. We got to bring home a couple of the smoked salmon. My husband has eaten it all already. Lucky for us, we know exactly where to find more. Now, this party is certainly not what I would categorize as frugal, per se, however, next time, I will let you in on some of the trade secrets of a lady I know that lives here. She has a secret room. What is in that secret room? Well, let's just say that she is the freakin' Queen of Frugalistas. She is the original, the bonafide bodacious bountiful Bernice. If ever there is a natural disaster, or if ever I just feel like falling off the grid of society, I am going to live with her. Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

You can call me Alvin

I'm a chipmunk, hoarding my nuts for the winter. I can not rearrange my freezer anymore as it is now stuffed. I have reached the point where I must eat all the food, I absolutely cannot buy anymore. This gives me such a satisfying feeling. The minute the weather cools off I seem to get into this frenzy of storing food. I come by it honestly. You see, my relatives are hoarders. Not in the extreme sense where you can't see over our piles of newspapers or anything. We just like to keep stuff. Lots of stuff. The more the better, really. You never know when you might need it! Remember my zippers?
I only keep the most recent two newspapers tops. Otherwise my husband will have a conniption fit. He thinks I must be afraid of starvation or natural disaster. Maybe that is true, but it doesn't come firsthand. This fear was bred into me, I think, from my ancestors. I am of Irish descent, after all.

I also did some baking today, using the same recipe booklet as the banana bread. (In other words, I kind of made things up as I went along.) I made two different kinds of muffins; carrot-pineapple and apple-cranberry-lemon, as well as a zucchini bread. The latter was a huge recipe, it filled my 9x13 pan. I am taking all it to the relatives so they can eat it on Saturday. By then, all the flavours should be just right.
I also finished my menu plan and ordered my first Good Food Box. It will arrive in a couple weeks. I can't wait to see all the fresh goodies from local farms. The price was so reasonable, and I can never seem to get to the farmer's market. I have been meaning to do this for over a year, so I am glad I finally got off my butt and did it.
I am looking forward to the long weekend, but with a smidgen of sadness because after that, summer will truly be over. It's a good thing I love the autumn so much.